Can expressions of anger enhance creativity? A test of the emotions as social information (EASI) model

Gerben A. van Kleef*, Christina Anastasopoulou, Bernard A. Nijstad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We investigated whether expressions of anger can enhance creative performance. Building on the emotions as social information (EASI) model (Van Kleef, 2009), we predicted that the interpersonal effects of anger expressions on creativity depend on the target's epistemic motivation (EM) the desire to develop an accurate understanding of the situation (Kruglanski, 1989). Participants worked on an idea generation task in the role of "generator." Then they received standardized feedback and tips from an "evaluator" (a trained actor) via a video setup. The feedback was delivered in an angry way or in a neutral way (via facial expressions, vocal intonation, and bodily postures). Participants with high EM exhibited greater fluency, originality, and flexibility after receiving angry rather than neutral feedback, whereas those with low EM were less creative after receiving angry feedback. These effects were mediated by task engagement and motivation, which anger increased (decreased) among high (low) EM participants. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1042-1048
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume46
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2010

Keywords

  • Emotion
  • Anger
  • Creativity
  • Interpersonal effects
  • Epistemic motivation
  • PERSONAL NEED
  • INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES
  • POSITIVE AFFECT
  • GROUP MEMBERS
  • HEDONIC TONE
  • PERFORMANCE
  • NEGOTIATIONS
  • MOOD
  • ACTIVATION
  • BEHAVIOR

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